Homegrown musicians Mint G and KenLee vKinG make such a cute couple, one would have thought that they could have gotten hitched much earlier.
The easygoing couple even arrived hand in hand for our interview recently wearing matching outfits and equally glowing dispositions.
Yet, theirs is a love story that took some nine years in the making.
And that was because the pair – Gloria Tan and Ken Lee, who are in their 30s, were not exactly looking for love when they first met. Since both were lost in depression, as they were both nursing broken hearts from their previous failed relationships.
It may sound like the plot of a rom-com, but the two music enthusiasts actually found each other through their mutual love of music.
“I first knew about her way back in 2011, but we never really spoke to each other until 2012, ” recalled Lee, a classically-trained professional violinist with a music school in Johor Baru.
“Back then, I was still running a music school in Bangsar, and he used to rent one of the rooms for his violin practice and jam sessions with a mutual friend, ” continued Tan.
Then, when she needed a violin teacher for her school, she approached him for a favour to teach her students.
“He used to come in carrying his violin, looking so rugged with his hair tumbling all over his face, and I would tell him ‘you’re so cute’.
“Then, I’d brush his hair off his face and tell him how handsome he’d look if he’d just put some effort into grooming himself.
“I figured I could help him with his image and all that, ” laughed Tan.
“I’m sure she noticed me because I looked a little bit like her favourite ex-boyfriend, ” Lee laughed. “I also noticed her, but I had not yet recovered from my break-up with my ex-girlfriend. In fact, she helped to bring me out of my depression, and helped me with my career.”
Eventually, Lee taught Tan how to play the violin, while she taught him the drums. And, the two slowly learnt to appreciate each other as they gradually healed through the exchange of music.
Formerly a violinist with Orkestra RTM, Lee regularly performs at public events and has played at all sorts of international events in Japan, Korea, Cambodia, and Thailand.
Meanwhile, Tan used to be a singer-songwriter about 10 years ago, but a volley of negative publicity left her so disillusioned that she decided to work behind the scenes instead.
Their frequent collaborations soon led to Tan producing Lee’s first album Samurai in 2017, a nine-track instrumental release that took them two years to complete.
Last July, the couple released their own original wedding music album titled Moment Of Love. It was their second instrumental album and comprised six tracks: Searching, Hand In Hand, Moment Of Love, Journey, Vow and Eternal Bliss.
During the press conference for the album, the cheeky couple staged a mock wedding party and played coy when media members probed about their relationship status.
When asked whether they were planning to tie the knot, he teased, “She’s much too playful; so I’d have to really think hard about marriage.”
Not to be outdone, she jested, “Well, I’ve got a long queue of suitors. Lots of guys want to marry me.”
The real marriage proposal, however, came a few months later.
It turns out that he had proposed to her on two separate occasions in December.
The first proposal happened on Dec 1 at a friend’s barbecue pool party, and truly caught her off guard.
“I was shabby and he was shaggy. So, I was quite puzzled to see him standing there holding a bunch of balloons and a cat, ” she giggled, perhaps hinting that she wished for a ‘prettier’ memory of the special occasion.
And, that led him to clarify, “I actually knelt down on one knee and held out the ring and asked her to marry me, but she was so taken by surprise that it probably did not register at that time.”
To give her a sweeter memory, he proposed a second time on Dec 28, during a year-end party she had organised for their friends at her parent’s place.
According to her, the second time was just as quirky. “I found it so strange to see him playing the piano and hear him singing, that I was even more surprised.
“All I could think about was the wrong chord he played and the lyrics he forgot!”
But, he reasoned, “Obviously, I could have just played the violin. But I really wanted to show my sincerity by doing something I was not entirely familiar with.”
Now that they can look back and laugh about it, the music-making duo say that they are finally ready to embark on a new chapter of their relationship.
Having taken several years to go from close friend to romantic partner, Tan and Lee cherish their relationship even more.
“I feel like nobody knows me better than him. Unlike other people who know me for what I can do, he knows all the things that others don’t, ” Tan said.
“I used to pay more than RM300 an hour just to talk to a psychologist. And they don’t even say anything, they just let you hear your own voice.
“Then, one day, as I was talking to him, I discovered that I had been repeating myself. And then the healing started.
“He is a very good listener – he won’t say anything or judge you, he would just be there when you need him. So, he kind of healed me.”
“After spending so much money on so many doctors, I realised that he is better than any of them. He is my best doctor.”